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Thread: I'm afraid of my cat. What do I do?

  1. #1
    Member GingerMay's Avatar
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    I'm afraid of my cat. What do I do?

    OK, so I adopted an adult cat last week and now she is freaking me out. Has anyone else felt like this? Is her behavior normal?

    I posted a different thread about my cat hiding and got a lot of good advice. However now I'm getting very nervous around her. When I walk in the room where she is, she scatters out of sight.

    When I attempt to go to the room where she has run off to, she crouches in the corner and stares at me. The look in her eyes scares me.

    I crouch down to her level a few feet from her and she just stares back at me and doesn't move.

    She has approached my husband after he sits in the room with her for a few minutes and shows head-butting and purrs. But when I sit next to him, she just stares back at me.

    I'm freaked. Is this normal cat behavior? Is she still just adjusting? It has been a little over one week in her new home. I'm scared of her and I don't think my fear of her is helping anything.

    Does anyone have any more advise? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    As the cat has only been there a week, you may have early on done something that made the cat wary of you without even realizing it. In time he should get past whatever is causing him to avoid you. The fact that he is showing affection to your husband is a good sign. Each cat will take a different period of adjustment. The often will also have their own quirks about things that may freak them out/make them skittish.

    Basically, if this is the only odd behaviour, just be patient. Also, if you wear perfume or sccented things daily, try taking a break for a bit as that may also be the reason why the cat is avoiding you.

    EDIT - Also, I dont understand why you are afraid of the cat. You didnt mention that he was showing any aggressive behaviours...just avoidant behaviours. Another note, if you are comfortable around pets, they will feel that.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    I really wasn't being hyperbolic in the other thread when I mentioned that relocating can be and often is traumatic for cats. Especially if she's only been in one or two homes her whole life, this is a huge deal. I would avoid sitting with your husband at the same time. Also, don't stare at her. Two things that show cats you mean no harm / are comfortable with them:

    1. Slow blinking
    2. Looking at them and then looking away

    It sounds to me like you're a lot more concerned than your husband is, which actually may be working against you. If he's sitting there minding his own and more relaxed, there's a good chance she's picking up on that. Try sitting in the room with a book and just reading. Even if she moves around, just keep reading.

    Again, hold off on both of you being in the room with the cat until she's shown comfort around both of you individually.

    Don't be worried! She'll come around.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member polaris's Avatar
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    Yes, she's still adjusting; it can take cats weeks to adjust sometimes. I don't know what you know about her history, but it's also possible that she has in the past been abused by a woman or by someone who has some distinctive appearance characteristic in common with you, and she is associating you (but not your husband) with that past behaviour. Either way, don't worry about it; make a point of being the person who feeds her, and after a short while (a few weeks at most, probably shorter) she'll come round and start to see you as a friend.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    sometimes cats have the "i will eat your soul" stare. she's scared. you'll be fine. did you say in your last thread her previous owners passed away? was the owner a male? the thing is a cat can look very well groomed and tamed but she may have had stressors in the past just the same. if you don't know her histoy, some of her behaviors can be puzzling. perhaps lady of the house had the old chase her out of the kitchen with a broom habit?

    i was once adopted by an elderly cat, who had a lovely retirement and passed away peacefully five years later. in the beginning, she was avoidant and hissed/bit/scratched people who approached her. i later learned she had lived with her previous owners, a seemingly nice family, for 13 years. all of a sudden, they decided to go on a long vacation and didn't bother making arrangements for the cat to be taken care of until they got back. so they kicked her out, but on the morning of the departure she was back at the front door and wouldn't leave, so the p.o.s. of the house literally kicked her until she fled. there must have been sticks involved too because for years she would run whenever she saw one, whether it was a broomstick or a branch cut off of a tree.

    i think hubby's approach is good. it makes the cat come to him, but in a "no sweat if you don't want to" kind of way. that was my startegy with my old cat. i left her food outside and would sit on my doorstep calmly. she eventually got the courage to come eat a few feet away and i would still sit calmly, without making any gestures to pet or beckon her. soon, she started to causally pass by me and rub against my leg and continue walking. the rubbing turned into cuddling soon enough and as i would always leave the front door open as i was hanging out with her, she invited herself in and made herself at home. no problems after that point, ever. first time my mum visited when i had her, the cat stared at her suspiciously all day and then at night suddenly decided to jump on her belly and sleep there. she could be conjuring up ways to make you hers that aren't traumatic for her so it's good to let her come to you on her own terms, so that she has a sense of control.

    i would just put a chair in that room and read there or answer my emails or balance my bills or similar for an hour or two every day without approaching her. keep the chair at a safe distance, maybe once in a while softly say her name (that's okay Muffin. take your time sweety. Good kitty.) so that she knows you're having some sort of interaction, but it's not threatening to her. she should try to walk near you and she will eventually brush againts the chair, your things, you. it's natural, even if she doesn't like you yet, she'll want to make sure you're marked as hers when she realizes the household is hers.

    i agree with the above posters, it sounds more like avoidant behavior, not agressive. kitty is just scared.
    let us know how it goes!

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    I've had my cat for going on 9 years now, and she is still sometimes skittish. She was obviously traumatized in some way by her previous caretakers. In between running and hiding from me she sleeps on my lap and loves sleeping in bed with me, and comes looking for me to pet her.

    I too am puzzled why you're "afraid". Because the cat stares at you? How is that enough to make you afraid? If you said she was biting or clawing at you that would be one thing, but the cat can't hurt you by looking at you.

    I think the suggestions given by others are excellent.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    Just to provide you some relatable material, the girlfriend and I have two cats. One's a 7 year old cat we got a year and a half ago and the other is now a 4-month old kitten. I could probably throw the kitten in a brand new mansion and she'd have the run of it by the time the day is over.

    The cat is a whole other story. She's never been much for outright cuddling, but she loves attention. Even so, we moved after having her for a year and she wasn't having that ****. She actually went MIA for almost a complete day. Come to find out she found a way to climb inside the back of the couch from underneath. That ended up being her home for about the next week and a half. You've seen her before, but look at her now, ruining every movie we watch:

    [img]

    I know it's disheartening when you want them to just be comfortable. It was a pretty big bummer when ours took as long as she did, especially the second time around. We thought she'd handle it better since she was familiar with us. But we gave her all the space in the world and now she gives us none in return.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member greta96's Avatar
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    Everything they said is spot on.
    I just wanted to add that you shouldn't let the look in her eyes scare you, she's just being cautious and trying to intimidate you (in case you're a baddie lol).
    When I took one of my strays in, his eyes looked vicious! I thought for sure he was a beast that was going to rip my hands apart the moment I tried petting him. He was throwing me dirty looks, hissing, growling, the works. Well, he turned out to be the best, most gentle cat ever, he never, ever bit and he is extremely well behaved.
    They just need time to adjust, some do it faster, some need more time.
    Don't worry, it's going to work out great!

  10. #9
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    I believe cats have an uncanny ability to sniff out `cat people'.

    My friends will come by and visit. If one happens to not be cat friendly or hasn't had interactions with cats, my typically shy cats are MIA.

    A cat friendly friend will come over and it's as if my cats have radar and they will be at their feet in minutes,
    curious and wanting attention. It happens every time.

    You mention your fear. Trust me when I tell you that your cat can sense it and that's likely why she reacts differently to you then your husband.
    Just something to think about it.

  11. #10
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I have had cats all my life and presently own 3. You have NO reason to fear her. Don't sit in a room and stare at her. Let this be on HER terms. She will come to you when SHE IS ready. And some cats only bond well with one person. She may bond really well with your husband but not as well with you. She can sniff out your fear and will avoid you.

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